Richard Nordquist defines the “literary present“:
The use of a verb in the present tense to refer to any aspect of a work of literature.
“Use the present tense when discussing a literary work, since the author of the work is communicating to the reader at the present time.
In ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find,’ the grandmother reaches out to touch her killer just before he pulls the trigger.”
‘the grandmother reaches out to touch her killer just before he pulls the trigger’
‘…the grandmother reached out to touch her killer just before he pulled the trigger’
• How (and Why) Do I Write in Literary Present Tense? (pdf file)